It’s mordantly amusing to see (some of) the GOP establishment recoil in horror at the rough beast that’s slouching toward an electoral apocalypse on November 8th, given that Trump is merely shouting out arguments that better-bred Republicans have been making in more dulcet tones for years, if not decades.
Chief among these is the “voter fraud” fraud, as explained by Rick Hasen:
Donald Trump may be out of step with the Republican Party’s traditional stance on some issues, like support for international trade, but he’s right in line with Republican hysteria over voter fraud. Indeed, the threat of voter intimidation and violence that Trump is raising by his irresponsible talk of vote rigging and encouragement of his supporters to go to other polling places is only possible because of years of earlier irresponsible talk. . .
But this should be no surprise, because members of the fraudulent fraud squad have pushed this message for years, claiming that voter fraud is rampant, and that it inevitably helps Democrats. As I pointed out in my 2012 book, The Voting Wars, conservative flame thrower Michelle Malkin warned just before the 2010 election that voter fraud was rampant. But when Democrats faced a “thumping” at the polls, Malkin had nothing to say about fraud. And now she’s at it again, claiming non-citizens will steal the election in Colorado and elsewhere.
There’s a whole industry of fraudsters, such as Hans von Spakovsky and Kansas Secretary of State Kobach who whip up voter fraud frenzies to degitimize Democrats, rile up the Republican base, and fundraise. That’s why the Wake County, NC GOP just sent out a letter saying that Democrats will “stop at nothing and registering dead people or falsifying voter information is simply a ‘means to an end’ for them.”
Here’s what we know about voter fraud. One should never say voter fraud is non-existent. In fact, it happens occasionally with absentee ballots and I’ve long said we need more action to stop it. I’ve also said we need to clean up voter registration rolls to stop registration fraud. What is extremely rare and has not affected any election we know of since the 1980s is impersonation fraud, the kind of fraud state voter ID laws are meant to stop. Yet Republican laws that make it harder to register and vote generally don’t go after absentee ballot fraud but are instead targeted almost exclusively to measures making it harder for those likely to vote Democratic to register and vote.
Claims of voter fraud are often exaggerated by orders of magnitude. Consider the claims about non-citizen voting. Matt Drudge recently had a headline stating: “Report: 1,000+ Illegal Voters in Virginia.” And Dan Scavino, Jr. tweeted: “Terrible. We know who the 1,000+ illegal aliens ARE NOT VOTING FOR! A fixed presidential election in the making….will we ever know!?!?” But if you look at the underlying report, they have identified only 31 actual non-citizen voters in Virginia over the last 10 years. No doubt there are some more, as not all the counties have responded yet. But it is not 1,000 plus non-citizens voting in Va. (“In the 8 jurisdictions that provided us with lists of aliens recently removed from their voter rolls, we discovered that 31 non-citizens had cast a total of 186 votes between 2005 and 2015. The most alien votes were cast in 2012 followed by 2008, the year President Obama was elected to his first term.” (emphasis omitted)). Don’t believe all the hype. Non-citizen voting is a real, but pretty small, problem (because the penalties are high and the payoff low).
And there’s no doubt a racial element to all of this. When Trump talks of voter fraud in “certain areas” (code word for voting by minorities, with the fix put in by local labor unions), he’s talking about impersonation fraud.
As so often the case with right-wing hysteria, there’s a large element of projection in all this, since the most important stolen election in American history was stolen in broad daylight by five Republican SCOTUS appointees, via the most preposterous opinion in the history of that institution. ETA: CassandraLeo in comments:
[Claims of voter fraud are] used as an excuse to pass draconian ID laws that are self-admittedly racially motivated and to purge enough people from the voter rolls to swing election results. Ralph Nader deservedly gets blame for the 2000 result alongside our first-past-the-post system and the Supreme Court’s worst decision arguably since Plessy v. Ferguson, but people being purged from the voter rolls was also a major contributing factor in the election results. At least tens of thousands of people were fraudulently and illegally purged from the voter rolls in Florida rolls (for things like having the same names as felons, but not actually being felons themselves), and since they were mostly minorities, one can easily conclude that this swung the election for Bush. It’s speculated that the same thing may have happened in Ohio in 2004, though this isn’t as widely agreed upon.
So, once again, this is Republicans doing something illegal and fraudulent to swing election results, and then claiming that Democrats are attempting to steal elections. They’ve been doing this since at least 2000, and while it didn’t work in 2008 or 2012 for the Presidency, it’s very likely to have affected significant numbers of House, Senate, and state elections. It’s always projection with these folks.
And, as is his wont. Trump can’t even be bothered to keep the whole “the blahs are stealing the election from honest hard-working
white folk real Americans” in the subtext, since the Great Orange Teen Beauty Pageant Voyeur (seriously wtf?) doesn’t do subtext.
But again, the only thing that separates Trump from Republican orthodoxy on this matter is his crude delivery.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that Trump is going to encourage his followers to reject the legitimacy of the Hillary Clinton presidency. In this regard he is merely reflecting the views of the average Republican voter, who has never accepted the legitimacy of the Obama presidency. In this way, the “voter fraud” nonsense is merely a repetition of the birther nonsense, and features the same underlying psychology. While no doubt some birthers were and are stupid and ignorant enough to literally believe that Obama wasn’t born in America, most such people were and are merely expressing their belief that Obama isn’t a real American in a shall we say somewhat more metaphorical sense.
Similarly, people like Trump (and again in this way he is hardly distinguishable from the whole Republican establishment) who screech constantly about voter fraud are really saying that the people whose votes are keeping them partially out of power are not really Americans, for all too obvious reasons.